YWCA Missoula runs this program called Girls Using Their Strengths, GUTS! for short. I don’t know why the exclamation mark is added in the acronym; personally, I find it irritating rather than enlivening – but the program  itself is great. It organizes dozens of volunteers to help more than 200 girls a year build confidence and leadership skills.

And that’s important, says GUTS! co-founder and director Jen Euell, because “our culture is more sexualized than ever, so we feel it’s important to reach girls at a young age so that they can learn to value their inner strengths and talents, not just their appearances.”

Right on, sister. To further that mission, this year the program is offering its first-ever day camp for 9- and 10-year-olds. The camp kicked off on Monday and wraps up on Friday. According to the YWCA, “Activities will include visiting Raptors of the Rockies and the Wild Bear Institute, swimming in a creek, helping build a community garden with Missoula’s Parks and Recreation Department, as well as spending one night at the Homestead Organics Farm.”

For more information about GUTS!, future day camps or volunteer opportunities, give Jen Euell a call on her cell phone at 360-5962.

– MM

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